Last night, the 2016 World Social Forum (WSF) began! Emma and I arrived on Kanienke’haka Mohawk Nation territory, in Montreal, Quebec where this global gathering will be taking place over the next five days. The energy here is bubbling: thousands of people took place in the opening march and gathered for the opening ceremonies and festivities. This is the 12th World Social Forum and the first to take place in the ‘Global North.’ First held in Brazil in 2001, the World Social Forum is historically a gathering of social movements, activists, civil society organizations, and other movers and shakers who are resisting the hegemonic neoliberal capitalist world order and working towards alternative social structures. As thousands of people gether from around the world, this week holds the possibility of sharing stories, struggles, ideas, and solutions as well as a chance to create connections between and within movements, take collective action, and build long-term plans for dynamic social change.
Over the next few days, it will be wonderful to be a part of this energy amidst so many inspiring folks who are working for a different world. It will be compelling and critical to think about the impact of hosting this gathering in the Global North. Who is here and who is not? Who is visible and being heard and who is not? Which movements are most visible?
We are also interested to see the aging and intergenerational aspects of the WSF. What ages are most visible/ invisible? Are older women activists visible and in what roles? Are intergenerational solidarities being fostered and are they being acknowledged?
Stay tuned for more on the World Social Forum!